Minnesota Delights: Bacon Wrapped Pork Pate

Bacon Wrapped Pork Pate

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Adapted from Peter Botcher Chef at Butcher and the Boar restaurant

2 pounds ground pork
4 ounces chicken liver, hand chopped fine
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped smallish but not perfect by any means
1 bunch Italian parsley, leaves only coarsely chopped
6-7 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
½ t pink curing salt (optional)
1 ½ teaspoon sugar
1 t cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice or ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons brandy
1/2 cup heavy cream
½ cup of pistachios
1 lb. of bacon

Prep Day: Whisk the flour, eggs, brandy, and heavy cream in a large bowl until very smooth, getting out any lumps. Add the pistachios and place in the freezer until very cold. Add the ground pork, garlic, parsley and all of the spices to the bowl; place back in the freezer.

Sauté the onion in butter until it is soft and translucent. Add to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Chill until very, very cold—almost starting to freeze. Remove the bowl from the freezer and immediately mix it in a standing mixer or mix like hell by hand. The goal is to achieve a kind of cohesive and sticky mixture. This will take 2-3 minutes. Put the pate mixture in the refrigerator.

Cook a small piece in a pan or microwave until it has an internal temperature of 165 degrees. This step is necessary to check for salt content and to ensure that you are happy with the taste. It will and should taste slightly salty when hot. The pate will be perfectly seasoned and flavorful when cold. If you are happy with the flavor, place the pate mix in the fridge for 24 hours—this will allow the seasonings to meld and mature in flavor.

The next day preheat the oven to 200 degrees. If you have a terrine mold, line it with bacon. Overlap the bacon a little and leave some of the bacon hanging over the sides. Pack all of the pate mix into the mold. Even out the top. Cover with bacon. If you don’t have terrine mold a pie tin will also work—simply pack the pate mix into the pie tin and cover the with the bacon. If you have neither you could bake it on a sheet tray covered with the bacon—similar to making a bacon-wrapped meatloaf. Pop the pate into the oven and bake until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. It will take a couple of hours but check it frequently. Once its fully cooked place the pate into the fridge for at least 1 day and up to 5 days.

Note: It is important to pay attention to proper mixing and cooking temperatures and to have the right amount of salt content. If you have a meat grinder use pork shoulder instead of ground pork. Before getting started it’s critical to the success of the pate that the meat and all of the ingredients are kept very cold while mixing. If they heat up past 40 degrees while mixing, the pate will render its fat when baking and turn out dry when finished. Once you’ve prepared all of the ingredients up to the point of mixing, place them in the freezer until very, very cold; almost starting to freeze. This will allow the meat some wiggle room while mixing.

Serve Day: When ready slice the pate and serve it with a baguette, Dijon mustard and cornichons.

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